Billion Dollar Overshadow

By Daniel Andruczyk

This week has seen a lot of news from around the world in Rugby League. From the Billion Dollar TV contract in Australia, to the Challenge Cup Final, to the USARL Grand Final and Italy pulling out of the European Cup. There is a lot happening around the place.

Jacksonville Reign Supreme

Jacksonville Axemen 28 – 22 Boston 13s

Despite watching the Challenge Cup on Saturday and then having functions all night, myself and several other delegates were able to sit down and watch the live stream of the USARL Grand Final live from Boston. An impressive feat, the live stream left us impressed with what could be done and it left an impression on us and also had us throwing around ideas on how to make it even better!

But to the game. For me it was a game of three parts really. The opening 20 minutes where all Boston. They dominated the play and raced out to a 10-0 lead over the Axemen. But a couple penalties after the quarter break saw the momentum shift to the Axemen. They started to dominate the marker defence of the Boston team and off-side penalties started to hurt Boston. Jacksonville hit back and by the half it was 10-10. After the break it was Jacksonville continuing with it and got out to a 24-10 lead. However the momentum was starting to shift again back in favour of the home side. Boston hit back with two tries to make the last 10 minutes tens as anything. At 24-22 it was anyone’s game really and probably the next try was going to seal it for either side.

It was Jacksonville who came up with the last points and took them to a 28-22 lead and eventually the Championship. Its their first championships in the USARL competition, Philadelphia Fight won it last year, but were knocked out in the semis by Boston 13s. JaxAxe won the 2010 AMNRL competition before the split.

Tomahawks Team Expands

The AMNRL have released their latest Elite player pool. It is one laced with controversy once again drawing much criticism from over seas fans. In particular fans of the USARL. No USARL players have been chosen in the pool. So at the moment it seems likely that there wont be any re-merging of the two competitions any time soon.

Comments on this site from readers about the storm players being chosen over the USARL players, however I feel are a bit harsh. The players did get some games in this year and I feel should be considered. If the Midwest conference feels they are the best ones to include then I have no issue with this. What does worry me a bit is the Pacific Conference. Absolutely no domestic matches have been there since Jack Breen left and the players have been included, probably on the basis of the one international against Tonga. Also the Western Conference, I am not awar of any games being played in California?

This will be a talking point amongst many of the USA and international Rugby league fans I think for a while yet. But in the meantime the Tomahawks are preparing to take on the Canadians in Toronto on the 8th September in the first match of the Colonial Cup, a match that RLIS will be present at.


Fitzjames Adams (Knights), Joe Argueta (Knights), Luke Barron (Wildcats), Gareth Baxendale (Knights), Mike Brazill (Bulls), Kenny Britt (Bulls), James Carder (Knights), Mike Cartwright (Knights), Luke Collins (Bulls), Bryan Confer (Bulls), CJ Cortalano (Knights), Curtis Cunz (Wildcats), Akarika Dawn (Bulls), Phil Dorn (Eagles), John Dykeman (Knights), Ian Elliott (Knights), Todd Fisher (Knights), Ed Fua (Eagles), Gareth Gibbs (Wildcats), Phil Giuliano (Raiders), John Grace (Bulls), Wes Haughton (Bulls), Ben Hopson (Bulls), Luke Hume (Knights), Dan Johnson (Sharks), Pete Jordan (Knights), Andy Kneisly (Bulls), Cory Mayo (Bulls), Mike Murphy (Knights), Damien O’Malveney (Bulls), Zac Padgett (Sharks), Rob Ploth (Raiders), Apple Pope (Bulls), Matt Reilly (Raiders), Justin Ripley (Knights), Charlie Rizzo (Wildcats), Mike Romero (Sharks), Gio Roses (Wildcats), Pete Roses (Wildcats), Ben Sadgrove (Knights), Mike Schacter (Wildcats), Dennis Schmieler (Wildcats), Christian Seaman (Eagles), Phil Shipos (Sharks), Ryan Sodano (Sharks), Sean Taylor (Knights), Steve Thompson (Sharks), Salesi Tongamoa (Wildcats), Louis Tulio (Bulls), Dusten Umeda (Wildcats), Alejandro Valentin (Bulls), Freddy Vero (Raiders), Matt Walsh (Wildcats), Adam Wendland (Raiders), Kevin Wiggins (Bulls)

Conor Hadley (Storm), Eric Hunt (Storm), Kevin Hunt (Storm)

Tala Esera (Hawaii), Henry Leatio’o (American Samoa), Kelly McGill (Hawaii), Keiki Misipeka (American Samoa), Vai Natoa (Hawaii), Leonard Peters (Hawaii), Anthony Sunia (Hawaii), Loto Tagaloa (Hawaii), Mo Uitalia (Hawaii)

Brian Jensen (Utah), Josh Latu (Utah), Kali Tavake (Utah), Chance Williams (Utah)

Zane Hirtzel (California), Ika Ofa (California), Jack Tracy (California)

Cory Blair (Tweed Heads), Mark Cantoni (Pia), Tyrone Coppedge (Sunshine Coast), Kristian Freed (Sunshine Coast), Mike Filimona (Penrith), Michael Garvey (Ipswich), Danny Howard (Wentworthville), Steven Howard (Tuggeranong), David Marando (Belrose), Ryan McGoldrick (Hull FC), David Myles (Unattached), Clint Newton (Penrith), Mark Offerdahl (Carcassonne), Joseph Paulo (Parramatta), Kevin Pease (Burleigh), Matt Petersen (Gympie), Jayson Rego (Ipswich), Josh Rice (Ipswich), Tui Samoa (Redcliffe), Mitchell Stevens (Wynnum-Manly), Jared Stewart (Leeds)

Billion Dollar Baby Overshadows Threat

Well Australian Rugby League has got its Billion Dollar deal form TV. This does not include internet or New Zealand part either. So the $1.025 b could in fact get bigger. There has been much written about this already. There is not much point going on about all the details and specifics since they have been done to death already. But the news overshadowed some larger news that day, in opinion anyway.

Former NRL head, David Gallop has finally gone to the FFA, Football Federation Australia. Lowy has his man. Now right now Football is a distant fourth on the footballing landscape in Australia with League, AFL and daylight in front of them. But you know what David is exactly the king of man that can get them much higher and in fact start to rival AFL and even League. The sport is struggling financially as are the clubs but under Gallops rule League grew and his, what I call conservative, methods did pay off, and I think this could be a good thing for them.

I always say that a sport to be new and fresh with ideas needs to have someone from the outside sometimes come in and shake it up. Gallop did this in the NRL, he was not a League man. Richard Lewis did this with Super League and the European Rugby League during his tenure. So I think Gallop will do the same for Soccer. That I think is the threat we now have to be mindful of, not AFL. For all its barking, the AFL has not turned out to be as big a bully as we thought. Soccer however could just be the little nerdy kid about to get his growth spurt. Keep an eye out on them.

Challenge Cup

As reported in a previous article, the Challenge Cup was help over the weekend in London. Warrington came out winners once again, getting their third title in four years where as the Leeds Rhinos had to play the role of Bridesmaids once again. A big congratulations has to go out to Jimmy Keinhorst who played over 30 minutes of the Challenge Cup for Leeds. Jimmy is a member of the German National team and was part of the world record setting team in Prague in 2007. He along with his three brothers, Nick, Markus and Kristian were the first 4 brothers to represent their country in the same game.

Poland’s Next Steps

Last week I was in London at the RLEF AGM representing Polska Rugby XIII. It was a great experience and also a wonderful introduction for Lukasz Lucka to the European Rugby League community. Being able to finally meet face to face with people like Danny Kazandjian and Jovan Vujosevic who have been integral to the RLEF help for Poland as well as people from countries around Poland that want to have stronger links. Speaking with the Czechs, Hungarians, Greeks and Norwegians, there is hope that we will have a couple more matches against some representative sides in the near future. Maybe not full internationals but at least something for the players to aim for. Also it’s a goal for PRXIII to form two more clubs to be able to get official status as a sport with the Polish Government. This will allow Poland then to take the next steps to get associate membership with the RLEF.

Italian News

This week there has been news come out that the Italians have pulled out of the European Cup this year. I was able to ask Tiziano about this on the weekend and the reason is simple, finances. With Europe’s financial issues this has also hit the FIRL and so having already played 3 matches this year in the Euro Shield a decision was made to not enter the Cup.

Daniel Andruczyk’s email:
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14 Responses to “Billion Dollar Overshadow”

  1. dragons4eva says:

    Good to hear from you Dru.

    @America: Congratulations to both the Knights and Axemen! Thoroughly deserved their titles as best in both of their competitions.

    Just two things with the AMNRL/Tomahawks. I guess i’ll be critical of them not choosing USARL players LOL…but there’s something else i wanted to mention.

    1. Why is it that they’ve released a ‘high performance squad’ with over 80 players?! I just find it odd that they’ve chosen every possible player who can play for the Tomahawks regardless of what form of sport they can play!

    2. Selection: as you said some of the selections are very very odd. Some are ex union/nfl players being chosen for ‘political reasons’. I just don’t know how picking RU and Gridion players will help develop a sport long term!

    As for the RLEF AGM and your London visit it sound like you had a good time. Would love to do that one day myself!

    All the best!

    • druzik says:

      Yes, both team were by far the best in their divisions.

      1. Yes I see your point, its not very high performance if you basically have everyone. I wonder if they think its an academy of some kind?

      2. That is a question that many are asking.

      It was a pretty amazing experience. I had been to Wembley before, but with everything else to experience it was cool. I’ll be doing more of a round up from the weekend over the week. so stay tuned.

  2. deluded pom? says:

    According to Paul Broadbent (Italy coaching mentor) the Italians have pulled out of the European Shield not the European Cup dru.

    • druzik says:

      OK, Not sure why he said shield considering they have played 3 matches and are about to play Russia, they names a squad already. It would have to be the cup is any.

      Do you have a copy of LE you can scan and email me. I don’t get LE here.

  3. deluded pom? says:

    Will do. It definitely says the Italians are pulling out of this Autumn’s commitments.

  4. Stu says:

    How many people turned up to watch the USARL GF Daniel? Is the replay available online?

    • druzik says:

      Geee…. that I do not know. You have to ask the Boston guys who were monitoring it.

      The comments on the side bar I would say about 20 or so at least… but there could have been many more, who didn’t post comments.

      The crowd I have been told was 5-600, the whole grand stand was full.

  5. Interested Observer says:

    For the AMNRL to say they have cast their net right across the USA to find and include the best rugby league talent is an absolute joke.

    There are guys in this ‘massive’ player pool who have not played a game of rugby league in donkeys years.

    Not that many will care but these are my thoughts:

    Re Widwest & South west players – they have played hardly any, if any, rugby league this year and I think it’s drawing a long bow to include them.

    Pacific players – again we see guys with such little RL experience being included, some with only 1 game international and no prior experience prior to that game. They’ve played no domwestic games this year. This is very unfair to many guys playing on the mainland who’ve missed out.

    West Coast players – this is the biggest joke of all. These guys are union players who haven’t played RL since God knows when. They are trying to help the AMNRL expand on the west coast and have been selected as a ‘thankyou’ for their loyalty to the AMNRL after guys like Zane were originally supposed to be involved with the USARL’s OC Outlaws club. The whole thing smells very fishy.

    Once again some of the best domestic players in the country have been snubbed because of spitefulness by the AMNRL. To not include the best USARL players in the pool is going to hurt the Tomahawks and those overseas watching this happen will be putting the AMNRL and the selection process under the microscope.

    There are also numerous AMNRL players who are very ticked off with a lot of the guys picked in the pool, so expect more unrest amongst the players as well.

    • druzik says:

      I will comment on the your last point… if the players are that ticked off then they are the ones that can force the change.

      I have said this before, its the player power within the game that can enact any change if they want it.

  6. International Observer says:

    Thats easier said then done Druzik. When you want to play in your national team it can be a big step to leave your AMNRL club and not know what is going to happen. Also if you live somewhere like Bucks County and want to play and train near home your options are limited. I don’t think it will be long before guys do move clubs though.I think the lack of a showing by Pope, Dawn and Britt this season says a lot. They don’t want to be playing in the AMNRL and other players know it.

    • druzik says:

      Look at some point they have to take a stand, if they feel that strong about it. Sure its easier said than done, but sometimes that hard action needs to be take.

      It goes for any organisation, change, if any comes from within.

      If things really are that bad at the AMNRL and players really do feel that strongly about the situation then they have to make a stand and demand things change.

  7. Interested Observer says:

    Spell check/iPhone messed my username again, sorry

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